Imagine the value to your business of being on page one of Google. Say, for example, you’re a financial adviser. What would it be worth to your business to put your company’s name and a link to your website, almost instantly, before the eyes of everyone who types “financial adviser” and the name of your city, county or state into the world’s most popular search engine? My guess is that if you’re looking for new clients, as most businesses are, it would be very valuable indeed.
So, how do you do it? Well, you basically have two options. The quickest and easiest option is Google AdWords — or pay-per-click advertising. Bear in mind, though, that depending on how many other companies there are in your area doing what you do, that could be very expensive.
The second option is the road less travelled — content marketing. My colleagues and I have used content marketing to take two different websites to the top slot on page one of Google, and we’re well on the way to achieving it with a third.
I’ll give you the bad news first. It takes time; you have to be patient. You also need to invest in it, and the costs are not inconsiderable.
The good news is that it will work. Google, and indeed the other search engines, love content. Their algorithms reward sites that share material — be it blogs, videos, podcasts or infographics — that people like to consume and share. It may take 12 or 18 months, but do it properly and you will end up on page one. You’ll also be at an advantage over rival firms that rely on pay-per-click, in that having a range of high-quality content on your site will help to keep people on it for longer when they visit, which in turn makes them more likely to engage with you.
The other advantage of the content marketing route is that the benefits stay with you. Stop paying for Google AdWords and unless you’ve built a strong enough reputation with - you’ve guessed it - quality content, your site will drop down the search engine rankings straight away. But good content keeps on driving traffic to your site day after day, in perpetuity.
Producing and sharing good content is like putting chips in the bank. It takes a while before you really start to notice, but what you’re effectively doing is building value in your business, one piece of content at a time.
To get started, I recommend reading a book like Joe Pulizzi’s Epic Content Marketing or flick through Ogilvy & Mather’s The Digital Social Contract. I mentioned financial advisers, by the way, because that’s the field I specialise in. If you’re an adviser yourself, I can highly recommend an eGuide, written by my colleague Sam Lewis, called Attract and Retain: A content marketing guide for growing fiduciary businesses. Click here to read the first chapter, or download it via the Regis Media website.
You then have a very important question to ask yourself: Are you going to do your content marketing in-house, or are you going to outsource it? I’ll tackle that one in my next post.